Imagine waking up at 5 am, gathering 9 people together, walking 30 minutes to the train station and taking a three hour train ride at 6 am. Somehow we did that, and somehow everyone made it out alive, on our Cornwall Day Trip.
The members in participation in this excursion were all my flat mates; James, Will, Eli, Fanny, Jocelyn, Donald and myself, along with our two friends Sydney and Jay.
The train ride in itself was rather uneventful, most of us started off with high spirits and tapered off into exhaustion as the train progressed. Jocelyn was passed out immediately (go figure) and Will is a force not to be reckoned with unless he’s had coffee and it’s about 11 am. Fast forward about two and a half hours later we were all waking up and enjoying what was left of the ride, and fortunately we were all up because we ended up seeing a massive double rainbow out the window.
A few train delays later we finally made it to Penzance, the last stop on the line (which blows my mind considering it’s just the start of Cornwall). Since we did not have a personal car we had no choice but to use the buses, and I had made sure we all purchased a plusbus ticket that allows for unlimited use of the bus system at one/both of the departure and arrival destinations on your train ticket. The plusbus ticket can only be bought in conjunction with a train ticket. James always makes fun of me and calls me Itinerary Barbie because I have an incessant need to have a plan for any and everything. I’m pretty sure no one complained about me being organized on that day (suck it James).
We promptly got off the train, walked right across the street and hopped on a local bus that took us about 15 minutes to the town of Marazion, where the famed St. Michael’s Mount sits across the water. There is actually a sister castle directly across the way off the coast of France called Mont St. Michel (note to self must make it to this castle). There are no words or pictures that can adequately justify the beauty of this castle. The only way to reach it is to cross a causeway during low tide, or take a boat across the water to the castle during high tide. We made sure to make it our first destination in Cornwall because the tide would be low so we could cross the causeway for free and not have to pay for a boat.
Sadly for us, the Castle closes one day a week, and turns out the day is a Saturday, but we were all content with just seeing the castle from the outside. Due to its location on the Southern Coast the Castle maintains a subtropical atmosphere and has many beautiful gardens year round. I would definitely like to revisit one day and see the inside of the gardens and the castle.
I believe crossing the causeway should’ve taken maybe 5-10 minutes, however we took photo after photo so naturally it took us much longer to cross over the causeway. It was really interesting to look on both sides of the causeway and see rocks covered with moss for as far as the eye can see that are typically covered by water. James being James, hates to take photos but me being me I convinced him to take a ton, and we took one of my favorite photos of us, where he’s giving me a piggyback ride with the castle in the background. It was really funny because right after that Eli and will decided to take a similar photo next to us (Eli really had to convince Will to do this).
We then proceeded to the castle and wandered around the still open parts, and then spent quite some time at the Castle Wall overlooking the water. It’s amazing how blue the waters are and how clear they look. Though it was beautiful looking it was very cold and extremely windy that day so we tried not to stay out in the elements too long.
After many more photos we departed the castle and went to a bus stop to catch another bus back to city center of Penzance. Unfortunately our bus was running late so we stood there for about 30 minutes, and for a bit it was quite odd because there was a gentleman who seemed to suffer from turrets, which is fine and dandy, but one of his ticks was that every five seconds he yelled P*nis. It was definitely an interesting way to spend 30 minutes. Nonetheless we got to admire the view of the castle from afar while waiting for the bus, and I highly recommend it as a must on a Cornwall Day Trip!
Once we made it back to Penzance we opted to have lunch at the Admiral Benson. Will’s friend recommended it, so we were all looking forward to it. The atmosphere was interesting, as soon as you walked in you felt like you were on a pirate ship. There were decorations of ships and wheels and mugs and anything related to the see on every open space available. We all quickly ordered and proceeded to sit and wait for our food. Unfortunately the food at the pub was not mind blowing enough to justify the service. We waited for almost an hour before we got our food (mind you we were one of the few people in the pub). I ordered a cheese sandwich…so unless the chef had a cow out back to make the cheese freshly I don’t think it should’ve taken an hour to throw a slab of cheese and dressing on some bread, but maybe that’s me being a grouch. James and Eli both ordered sandwiches with some pork meat on it and by the time they got their food, an hour after we ordered their meat was cold. I think what irked us the most about waiting was that we saw two other tables got seated quite some time after us, and got their food well before ours. We think they honestly had just forgotten about us.
Adamant not to let the dining experience damper our spirits we quickly ate and left to our next destination, Porthcuro. We took a 45 minute bus ride to this area, on a double decker bus and some really tiny roads. It was really amusing to see cars reverse up the road we were on because the bus was too large, and the road too small, for both to fit. Once we reached the Porthcurno bus stop we took a little nature trail down to the water and it was stunning. Never had I expected to see a beach that beautiful in England. I may be biased, cause I thought England was all rain and clouds but that beach was comparable to those in the Caribbean that I grew up on.
We opted to take a winding path on the side of a cliff that we had seen some people walking on, and head to the Minack Theatre and hit the beach on the way back. Walking on the side of the cliff gave impressive views of the ocean below us and it was amazing up until we realized James was no longer with the group. “Where’s James?” I called out to the front of the group. He was neither at the front or back of the group. Cue my instant doom thoughts that he fell off the path onto the massive rocks below and knocked himself unconscious or worse. Why else wouldn’t he be responding to his name when we’re all yelling it out? Some of the group continued on to see if he went ahead, while Eli back tracked and I went down a path to the beach, worrying how I would explain this to his mother and what I would do if he got hurt. Well low and behold my boyfriend decided to go up a random path he found, tell no one in the group and take selfies. He was taking SELFIES while I thought he was hurt. You can imagine the slew of words I had ready for him when I caught upto him for not letting someone know his intentions…don’t get me wrong it would’ve been fine if we were in Walmart, but on a narrow any of a steep side of cliff with large pointy rocks below, not ok. Something good came out of this though, now we have a running joke of saying “Where’s James?”
The trek up the rest of the cliff was uneventful though rather hot and trying. We made it to the top at 4:05, but the Minack Theatre closed at 4:00. I was not accepting that I was out of breath for nothing, and promptly went into the reception and asked to see the theatre. Fortunately we were blessed with luck and were allowed (for a ticket fee of course). The theatre looks like it was plucked from the past and plopped into our time. The view of the ocean was breathtaking. I believe it’s mainly used for concerts and plays though I did see signs stating a Prom was to be held there. Imagine a Prom on an Oceanside open air theatre. How do you top that? James took this opportunity to utilize his “affluent voice” and pretend to be a spectator in the stands while clapping, thanks Mr. Petriello (US history circa 11th Grade) for teaching us that meaningful trick.
After many more photos we took the trek back down the cliff and to the beach. Will and I got to close to the water as the waves were coming in and I managed to get my feet wet, though thankfully I was wearing my Hunters (that overweight bag of shoes paid off). The water was surprisingly not that cold, even though the air was chilly. We did see some people swimming and surfing in it.
After our shenanigans at the beach we went back to the bus stop to wait for our final bus back to Penzance. Upon entering the bus we were promptly told our plusbus ticket was not valid for this area and we could not go on the bus unless we paid £5 for a ticket. Thank goodness for Sydney because she piped up and stated that it wasn’t our fault as the bus company allowed us to come out here, and had the ticket not been valid we should’ve never been allowed to get on a bus from Penzance to Porthcurno to begin with. The bus driver quickly admitted defeat and let us on, thank god. Had we not caught that bus, I’m not sure how we would’ve gotten back to Penzance and caught our train, and a lovely Cornwall day trip would have quickly dissolved. Once we got back to Penzance we stocked up on snacks in a conveince store for the 3 hour train ride back to Exeter and we were off.
Total Cost of the trip for James & I = £48.20
- Train ticket & plusbus: £27.10 + £3.10 = £30.20
- Minack Theatre Entry: £4.50 ea = £9
- Lunch: £4 (me), £5(James) = £9